Coal mining in the United Kingdom

Coal mining in the United Kingdom
Coalfields of the United Kingdom in the 19th century.

Coal mining in the United Kingdom probably dates to Roman times and took place in many different parts of the country. Britain's coalfields are associated with Northumbria and Durham, North and South Wales, Yorkshire, Scotland, Lancashire, the East and West Midlands and Kent. During the 1980s and 1990s the industry was scaled back considerably. In 2011 there are deep mines at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire, and Daw Mill Colliery, Warwickshire both run by UK Coal. Maltby colliery is a deep mine near Rotherham owned and operated by Hargreaves Services PLC. There are numerous open cast mines in the UK.



It is probable that the Romans used outcropping coal when working iron or burning lime burning for building purposes. Evidence is mostly from ash discovered at excavations of Roman sites.[1] There is no mention of coal mining in the Domesday Book of 1086 though lead and iron mines are recorded.[2] In the 13th century there are records of coal digging in Durham[3] and Northumberland,[4] Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Lancashire, the Forest of Dean and North[5] and South Wales. At this time coal was referred to as sea cole a reference to coal washed ashore on the north east coast of England from either the cliffs or undersea outcrops. The early mines would have been drift mines or adits where coal seams outcropped or by shallow bell pits where coal was close to the surface.[6] Shafts lined with tree trunks and branches have been found in Lancashire in workings dating from early 17th century and by 1750 brick lined shafts to 150 foot depth were common.

Industrial Revolution

Coal production increased dramatically in the 19th century as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace, especially as a fuel for steam engines such as the Newcomen engine, and later, the Watt steam engine. A key development was the invention at Coalbrookdale in the early 18th century of coke which could be used to make pig iron in the blast furnace. The development of the steam locomotive by Trevithick early in the 19th century gave added impetus, and coal consumption grew rapidly as the railway network expanded through the Victorian period. Coal was widely used for domestic heating owing to its low cost and widespread availability. The manufacture of coke also provided coal gas, which could be used for heating and lighting.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Galloway 1971, p. 5
  2. ^ Galloway 1971, p. 11
  3. ^ The Durham Coalfield, Coalmining History Research Centre,, retrieved 2010-12-05 
  4. ^ The NorthumberlandCoalfield, Coalmining History Research Centre,, retrieved 2010-12-05 
  5. ^ The North Wales Coalfield, Coalmining History Research Centre,, retrieved 2010-12-05 
  6. ^ Galloway 1971, p. 20
  • Galloway, Robert L. (1971), Annals of Coal Mining and the Coal Trade Volume 1, David & Charles Reprints, ISBN 0-7153-4980-5 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Open-pit coal mining in the United Kingdom — The United Kingdom produces about ten million tons of coal a year [1] from open pit mines. The majority comes from Scotland [2], with the largest operator there being the Scottish Coal subsidiary of Scottish Resources Group [3]; they are rather… …   Wikipedia

  • Mining in the United Kingdom — Kellingley Colliery on the border of West and North Yorkshire. Mining in the United Kingdom produces a wide variety of mineral fuels, metals, and industrial minerals. In 2006, there were over 2200 active mines, quarries, and offshore drilling… …   Wikipedia

  • Mining Association of the United Kingdom — Formation 1946 Legal status Non profit company Purpose/focus Mining businesses in the United Kingdom Location Expert House, Sandford Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6QA …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear power in the United Kingdom — United Kingdom energy related articles Government energy policy Energy use and conservation Nuclear power Solar power Wind power Energy efficiency in …   Wikipedia

  • Economic history of the United Kingdom — The economic history of the United Kingdom deals with the history of the economy of the United Kingdom from the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain on May 1st, 1707,[1] with the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of… …   Wikipedia

  • Energy policy of the United Kingdom — For energy use in practice, see Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom The current Energy Policy of the United Kingdom is set out in the Energy White Paper of May 2007, building on previous work including the 2003 Energy White Paper… …   Wikipedia

  • Great Depression in the United Kingdom — This article deals with the effects of the Great Depression of the 1930s also known as the Great Slump on the United Kingdom.BackgroundThe Great Depression of 1919 ndash;22 broke out at a time when Britain was still far from having recovered from …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in the United Kingdom — Crime in the UK · Terrorism in the UK Topics …   Wikipedia

  • National Museums of the United Kingdom — There are a number of National Museums in the United Kingdom, which are owned and operated by the state. The national museums of the UK are funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the United Kingdom government, and are all …   Wikipedia

  • List of disasters of the United Kingdom and preceding states — is a list of major disasters (excluding acts of war but including acts of terrorism) which relate to the United Kingdom since 1707, the states that preceded it (including territory that later became the Republic of Ireland), or involved UK… …   Wikipedia